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I have a cheapo soldering station (Duratool D02265). It is fine for what I need. But, I often want to swap the tips round quickly, without waiting for ages for it to cool down!

I was wondering: Can I dip the end in water (without destroying it!) to cool it down quickly (Just to the top of the nut, so I can undo the nut and carry on working)?

Of course I would turn it off first!

Here is a picture of the soldering station and the tip (Its cheap and rubbish, I know!)

enter image description here

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    \$\begingroup\$ I would not. Thermal shock can do nasty things. Having said that, I do keep a moist sponge around for cooling down my firestarter. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2014 at 20:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ The cheaper the tip, the more damage dipping it in water is likely to do. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Dec 4, 2014 at 20:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I use pliers to undo the nut and change tips - no need to wait for the tip to cool (but you should have a safe place to put the hot tip after you remove it from the iron.) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2014 at 20:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ My Metcal soldering station uses a heat-resistant pad for quick changing of cartridges. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 4, 2014 at 20:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ That pad is probably silicone rubber. The cord between the iron and the base on my old Weller is made of that stuff, too. \$\endgroup\$
    – gbarry
    Dec 4, 2014 at 23:02

4 Answers 4

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Dipping the tip into water does not sound like a good idea.

However, you don't need to anyway. I change tips occasionally on my soldering iron too. Just use a pair of plyers to undo the nut, pull the tip out, and put in the holder. You can use your fingers to put the new tip on, but will need the plyers again to tighten the nut. The iron should be off when you do this, but there is no need to deliberately cool it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 for Pliers. That way I don't need to wait for it to warm up again! \$\endgroup\$
    – George
    Dec 4, 2014 at 22:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Rest the removed (hot) tip on a safe surface. The moist sponge will do for that. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 5, 2014 at 0:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 because I have this exact soldering iron and this is exactly how I change the tips. Well, it was, then I bought a Metcal for proper soldering. \$\endgroup\$
    – John U
    Dec 5, 2014 at 10:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Or just use an iron which has no nut but a spring mechanism, e.g. ERSA. \$\endgroup\$
    – Janka
    Apr 21, 2017 at 18:39
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Quickly changing the temperature like that causes the metal to contract/expand at different rates and will cause metal fatigue. So it will shorten the life expectancy of the tip and perhaps the treading used to connect it. Using a moist sponge is a much safer option and you should be able to still cool it down fairly quickly this way.

enter image description here

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Cheap bits may compromise their iron plating (if any) with repeated steam pressure build-up if water gets under the edge of the plating.

Biggest risk is getting corrosion or electric shock risk if water wicks into the element area. Some irons have a pretty exposed thermocouple behind the tip that will prefer not to get wet or have electrical connection with the element wire.

That said, a very damp sponge on the exposed part of the tip is common practice and tolerated fairly well by most decent irons and tips.

Also remember that many irons may overheat if the tip is removed with the power on (Weller Magnastat obviously will not as the tip magnet is needed to close the switch).

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Just tried this with one of my cheaper tips, I do not recommend for hand held ones without the holder, the tip cools down really fast but the handle got really hot.

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